A REVIEW of the North-East Shipping Management Plan has revealed more than 50,000 vessel movements along Queensland’s north-east over a five-year period, with only two minor incidents recorded.

QLD minister for transport Mark Bailey said increased trade in QLD meant the number of carriers, cargo vessels and passenger ships travelling through the state’s waters had grown 2.6%.

“Shipping plays an important part in QLD’s economy. Our ports at Gladstone, Rockhampton and Bundaberg have seen another record trade year with 124.8m tonnes through those ports last financial year,” Mr Bailey said.

“The data shows that not only are more ships are visiting QLD, but they’re larger too. This means we’re exporting and importing more, which can only mean good things for Queenslanders.”

The report revealed bulk carriers remained the primary ship type, with rises in the number of liquefied gas tankers and passenger ships.

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“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to growing our ports, tourism and trade, with $127m now being invested to transform the Cairns Port into a cruise ship hub.

“We’re also delivering a $193m upgrade for the Port of Townsville – the country’s largest sugar, zinc, lead, copper and fertiliser port – to secure freight supply chains, create jobs and reduce the cost of imports for the QLD economy,” Mr Bailey said.

The minister said he expected trade on QLD’s coast to continue growing with global demand for hydrogen increasing, and the market expected to reach $US155bn by 2022, much of that will be driven by Asia-Pacific markets.

“This is on top of LNG pipeline the Palaszczuk Government backed and built, which is now a $60bn industry providing thousands of jobs to Gladstone.”

Maritime Safety Queensland operates ReefVTS, which tracks and monitors ship movements in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait and intervenes where it sees a potential situation developing.

“This system has proven effective in ensuring ships travel safely through our pristine waters, with only two minor incidents in the five years since we developed the plan,” Mr Bailey said.

These incidents occurred in 2014 and 2017 and involved interactions between a ship and fishing vessel.

The review of the shipping management plan has now recommended proposals such as investigating the benefit of putting pilots on more ships and expanding the services ReefVTS provides to reef shipping routes.

Other significant features of the enhanced plan include assessing the risk of whale interaction in and around the southern entrance to the reef, ensuring emergency towing is available to respond to a major incident and readiness to respond to ship-sourced oil and chemical spills.

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